How to Fix Stripped Wood Screw Hole: Repair Threaded or Loose Screw Holes

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Screws are widely used as threaded fasteners to hold objects together. However, screw holes can sometimes strip. Our pro woodworkers found several ways how to fix a stripped wood screw hole. Read on!

Fixing Stripped Wood Screw Holes: 6 Methods

Here are the methods to fix stripped screw holes for your DIY projects. 

Method #1: Use a Longer or Thicker Gauge Screw

The easiest and simplest way to fix a stripped screw hole with fewer threads is using a longer screw or a thicker gauge screw with new threads. Replacing loose screws can solve your problem. The new screw should have the same type of threads as the old screw to fix a stripped screw hole. 

screw on wooden board

If the previous screw occupied the whole workpiece, the bigger screw with more screw threads would not be a quick fix. The extra threads from the longer screw will provide a good grip.

Method #2: Use Toothpicks, Matchsticks, or Chopsticks

What You Need

  1. Wooden toothpicks, wooden matchsticks, or hardwood dowels
  2. Wood glue
  3. Hammer
  4. Screwdriver
toothpick

Step-by-step Process

  1. Get a few pieces of toothpicks to make the hole smaller.
  2. Squeeze a few drops of glue that you can buy at hardware stores or home centers on the exposed part of the toothpicks.
  3. Spread the glue using your fingers or cotton swabs.
  4. Stick the toothpicks into the stripped hole and lightly beat the end.
  5. Snap off the excess parts of the toothpicks.
  6. Let the wood glue dry for at least an hour
  7. Once dry, drive the stripped-out screw back into the hole.  

Method #3: Fill the Hole with Wood Strips and Re-Drive the Screw

The next solution to fix a stripped screw hole is to insert small strips of the same type of the original wood and re-drive the screw. You have to get some shavings or thin strips from a similar kind.

wood glue into stripped screw hole

Dip the tips of the fresh wood into the glue and insert them into the stripped screw hole. Lightly tap it until the hole is filled. Let the glue set for a few hours. Once dry, you may trim the excess filler using a chisel or knife.

Method #4: Use Hardwood Plugs or Dowels

If any of the padding techniques didn’t work, it is time to move to a higher level of fixing stripped holes.

What You Need

  1. Dowel(s) (⅜”) from a hardware store
  2. Pilot bit
  3. Large drill bit (⅜ “)
  4. Wood glue
  5. Hammer
  6. Coping saw
  7. Screwdriver 
wooden dowels

Step-by-step Process

  1. Using a drill driver or screwdriver, remove the old screw. 
  2. Make the pilot hole larger using a large drill bit to create more space around the lag screw or hinge screws.
  3. Insert the dowel or the hardwood plug into the hole. 
  4. Mark the depth of the hole and cut the dowel to size using a saw. 
  5. Cover the dowel with glue and put it back in the hole.
  6. Wait for at least 20 minutes for the dowel to dry.
  7. If you used a hardwood dowel, you need to make a pilot hole before putting the object back together.

Method #5: Use Plastic Anchors or Plastic Wall Plugs

Another method of fixing stripped screw holes is by using plastic anchors or wall plugs.

  1. Choose the right size of plastic anchor or plug. It should fit into the hole and be at least the same length as the screw.
  2. Insert the anchor or plug it into the stripped screw hole.
  3. Drive the screw into the plastic anchors and you are all set.

Method #6: Use Auto Body Filler

Auto body filler can also be used in fixing splits that will not thread. The resin [1] will do the trick in this method.

using drill bit to fix screw holes

What You Need

  1. Large drill bit
  2. Auto body filler and hardener
  3. Power drill
  4. Mixing board
  5. Lubricant
  6. Utility knife or chisel

Step-by-step Process

  1. Make a larger hole using a power drill. Pull the trigger to make the hole.
  2. Mix the body filler and hardener on the board.
  3. Fill the hole with more filler mixture with lightweight applications.
  4. Spray the screw with the lubricant to act as a release agent. 
  5. Thread the lug screw in the hole. 
  6. Wait for at least 5 minutes for the padding to dry.
  7. Remove the spare mixture using a utility knife on top of the bolt. 
  8. Remove the screw by unthreading it using your hand until the screws loosen. 
  9. Let the resin be fully cured for a moment before installing the new screw.

Why Do Wood Screw Holes Strip?

There are several possible reasons, some of which are:

person using a screw driver

FAQ

How do you fix a screw that won't tighten?

To fix a screw that won’t tighten, you must use the right tools. Using a larger screw can make all the difference. If the screw doesn’t tighten no matter how much you turn it, you may need to use more shim or a new hole.

What is the best wood filler for screw holes?

The best wood filler for screw holes should be the same species of wood as the original holes. It will prevent further damage to the hole and you will be sure it will look good. You may use a simple filler such as a toothpick, resin, or plugs. 

Conclusion

Our team came up with six different methods on how to fix stripped wood screw holes. So depending on your need and the problem you need to fix, you can use the procedures given above. These techniques can be used for your home improvement projects even in the future.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson

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